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William H. Sayers

(1884 - 1943)

William Higley Sayers was born on 23 June 1884, in Eastbourne, Sussex. An early aviation pioneer, he began experimenting with gliders and models in 1909 giving up his job as an electrical engineer to work as a mechanic at Brooklands. He formed, in partnership with William Rowland Ding, Ding, Sayers & Co., marketing accessories to the fledgling industry, along with their own model designs. In 1911 they won first prize of £4 4s for the Ding-Sayers model biplane No. 49 at the Olympia Aero Show. The same year the partners built the Ding Sayers monoplane.

In 1914, Sayers became the Technical editor of The Aeroplane, but with the onset of war he joined the RNAS. With his engineering background, Sayers transferred to the RNVR, firstly with the rank of Lieutenant, eventually rising to Captain, and was posted to the Naval Aircraft Experimental Depot, Isle of Grain, where he worked on the various Port Victoria designs. He also kept up his writing career. In conjunction with Frank Sowter Barnwell, he wrote the book “Aeroplane Design”, published by McBride in 1916.

Following the war, he returned to his post with The Aeroplane magazine, but continued working as a design engineer in his spare time. Along with pilots Frank T. Courtney (1894-1982) and Major Maurice E.A. Wright (1893-1957), he designed the S.C.W. glider for the 1922 Itford Gliding Competition. For the Lympne light aircraft competition of October 1923, Handley Page provided three contestants. These were designed by Sayers and owed much to the glider that he had designed the previous year.

At the beginning of 1929 Sayers joined Boulton & Paul, Ltd., as an Assistant Engineer under J. D. North, where he was initially responsible for the P.41 light aircraft. He retained this post until September 1942, when he left Boulton Paul, most likely for health reasons.

Captain W.H. Sayers, M.I.Ae.E , died in March 1943 in Sunderland, Northumberland.

Production References
  1. Flight 25 March, 1911
  2. Flight 15 April, 1911
  3. Flight 3 Jan, 1929
  4. Flight 17 September, 1942
  5. ancestry.com

V1.4.0 Created by Roger Moss. Last updated July 2019